San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Mandatory car insurance for tourists now can be paid online

Starting this week, tourists or travelers needing to enter the country in their own vehicles can pay for auto insurance online.

The National Insurance Institute (INS) created a new section on its website ( called “Póliza Turista,” where motorists can upload vehicle information in order to calculate costs, and then pay for it online using a credit or debit card. Once online payment is made, users print a receipt that they should keep as proof of payment.

When arriving in the country the receipt must be presented to Customs officials who will grant a certificate of permission for the vehicle to circulate in the country.

Article 60 of the country’s Traffic Law, which entered into force last year, states that “owners or drivers of foreign-registered vehicles must sign and maintain in force mandatory car insurance while the vehicle remains in the country.”

In case of an accident, the insurance provides access to medical care, payments for temporary and permanent disability as well as life insurance.

Drivers caught without the mandatory auto insurance can face fines up to ₡47,000 ($94) and have their license plates confiscated.

The website is available only in Spanish, but those needing information in English can call a toll-free number, 800-83-53-467, or send an email to:

Contact L. Arias at

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